How does Suite Francaise undermine the long-held view of French resistance to the German occupation?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

"Suite Francaise" exemplifies some themes that support the traditional view of French Resistance during the German Occupation.  This traditional view shows the French as a nation of people that were completely unified in their resistance to the Germans, a nation whose will to unity and defiance overran the Germans.  While some of this resonates in Nemirovsky's work, we do see some elements that diverge from this traditional notion of French Resistance.  One way this is done is through displaying class conflict. The wealthy characters in the novel look down at the poor as they lack the social refinement of the rich.  Other instances that depart from this traditional view is how the French citizens in the novel are shown as striving for survival.  Some examples of this is their complicity with the Germans, even falling in love with one of them.  Additionally, the notion that the French put country and their country men first is also questioned, such as the Pericands, who forget the grandfather in a nursing home.  This survivalist tendency is exemplified by Corbin, who seeks on repeated occasions to ditch his mistress, and by Corte, who believes because of his celebrity that he should be treated better than all else.

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Suite Francaise

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